New Perspectives from a Trip to the ER
This past Monday night, my boyfriend and I cooked an amazing meatball dish with garlic bread on the side. (No, I will not disclose whether I used premade meatballs and garlic bread.) We paired the dishes with a bottle of sangria we’d bought for taco night this past weekend but hadn’t opened until Monday.
After dinner, I noticed some tingling in my chest. I had pulled a muscle that weekend so I thought it was related to that or some reaction to the wine, so I ignored it. I’m also of the mind that if I ignore problems, they’ll go away. But when the sensation hadn’t stopped by the next afternoon, I started to get a bit concerned. Whenever something happens with my health, I often fear that it’s just all in my head and that if I did anything about it, I would waste health resources. So I did what I always do when concerned about something: I called my mom.
She knows that by the time I get to asking her about something, it probably needs to be checked out. She asked me to make an online appointment with a doctor for that afternoon, so I called the 24/7 nurse line provided through my insurance. The nurse directed me to the ER since apparently tingling in the chest is a concerning symptom.
This is exactly what I was trying to avoid. With, you know, the pandemic and all that, I was trying to limit my interaction with the healthcare system, not only to keep myself safe but also to protect healthcare workers in case I’m an asymptomatic carrier. I live only a few blocks from Mass General Hospital, but as a top hospital, they’re busy fighting COVID-19. So, I decided to visit Tufts Medical Center.
While there, I repeatedly reviewed my medical history with various individuals. No one in my immediate family had any history of heart problems or sudden deaths, so after we got through that, they had me list out every other piece of medical history and all other experienced symptoms I could think of. I mentioned to each person that I tested genetically positive for Huntington’s, but that that was definitely unrelated.
I never want to lie to a physician. I mean, how can they treat you without an accurate understanding of the situation? But constantly reviewing my Huntington’s results was very strange. Since I’m only 23, it will be a while before Huntington’s impacts my health, but I’ll need to review it with every physician for the rest of my life. I don’t think I realized that until this trip to the ER. My unmanifested Huntington’s doesn’t fall into the background of life when I’m in a hospital.
Luckily all of the tests they ran on my heart and vitals came back clean. So, with that and the fact that I was having no problems breathing, they sent me home. I’ve come home with a new perspective.
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